Ready to Sharpen Your Kitchen Skills?

You want to cook but the dilemma of what to make and how to make it haunts you. Your thoughts of getting through a recipe, only to not have the results show up looking not too appetizing are weighing on you.


You can rest assured that you are not alone, but I can help guide you through the training you need to land the best results.


Chefs and cooks alike wrestle with these same things.  It is not that they are looking for a product that looks the same as a picture. The picture in their minds is drawn by the expectations of their guests. The difference is the training they have undertaken.


Chef training isn’t some lofty thing like boot camp, or something that’s only for the elite or special forces.  The training that chefs go through is more fundamental and includes topics, tips and traits that can be closely associated with cooking.


Proper knife handling and food storage will be the first topics we slice and dice.  I will also give you a tip or shortcut to aid you.  Here’s a shortcut recipe and tip combined that you can utilize.


Storing Foods


dry foods storage

Storing foods is mostly common sense. Basically, you want to keep chemicals and other things away from your foods. Examples of hazards include dish soap, dirt, bacteria, broken glass, window cleaner, perfumes, pests, pets, standing water and aerosol sprays.


The “shelf life” is the ideal time that a food product will maintain its food qualities. Conditions such as ideal temperatures and humidity will determine if the shelf life is shortened – and by how much.


Modern refrigerators offer many settings for your foods, including meats and produce.


Dry goods, meanwhile, should be stored a minimum of 6 inches off the floor. This allows for airflow and keeps your goods away from direct contact with spills and debris that may end up on the floor.

When you purchase something, scan the package instructions.  Typically, it will state the ideal method for storing that food item.



Knife Skills


knife skills

Your index finger and thumb should pinch the butt of the knife; this protects the hand that controls the knife while allowing the other hand to remain secure.  The left hand is poised with the tips of the fingers back and slightly curled. This is a safe way to hold something that you would be cutting. It keeps your fingertips out of the way of the sharp blade.


This also allows the chef to use the blade in a rocking motion on the cutting board. The knife never leaves the board.  It rolls from tip to back. Once to the back, you raise the back, keeping the tip on the board and moving to the next cut.  This will give you the most control of your knife, providing stability by being secured on both ends – the hand-held side as well as the cutting board side.


parts of a knife


A small dice is considered a quarter-inch wide, high and deep. A large cube is considered an inch wide, high and deep. A fine dice or brunoise is a trim an eighth-inch wide, high and deep. Strips (called julienne in French cooking terminology) are typically an eighth-inch wide and deep and 2 inches in length.


The best cook or chef is the one who has the best information, so keep coming back for more insightful info from Chef Davis.



Executive Chef Michael Davis, CEC, is a Certified Executive Chef through the American Culinary Federation. He believes that the creative innovation of wholesome foods is the best approach to eating. For more information, contact Chef Davis at


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